Government moves to cut road delays

* Better training for road workers * New laws to give councils more power * Plans should reduce road disruption...

Government moves to cut road delays

Long delays caused by roadworks should be reduced if Government plans come to fruition.

From 2010, the Government plans to assess qualified road workers every five years at an approved test centre to refresh their knowledge of current regulations and best practice.

At the moment, workers only have to complete a re-registration form and pay a fee to remain on the Street Work Qualifications Register (SWQR).

The plans would also introduce qualifications for workers and supervisors involved in signing, lighting and guarding of roadworks.

New laws that come into force on April 1 should also help reduce delays. These give councils more control over who does roadworks, when, and how.

Councils will be able to insist that utility companies give longer notice periods before starting roadworks, which should improve co-ordination and make it possible to avoid multiple works in the same area at the same time.

They will also be able to ban works at rush-hour and operate a permit scheme, so that anyone who wants to dig up a road will have to apply for a permit. This will set out specific conditions for the work, such as how long it will take, and how and when it will be carried out.

If conditions are breached, councils will have the power to penalise utility companies.